tv CNN Tonight CNN July 18, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
>> well, thank you very much for coming and talking to us. >> yes. thank you for honoring his memory. >> that does it for this hour. stay with cnn throughout the night for continuing live coverage of the shootdown of mh17. "cnn tonight" starts now. this is cnn breaking news. >> good evening, everyone. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. >> and i'm allison cammarata. >> thank you for joining us. first, the investigation of flight 17 shot out of the sky. you're looking at pictures from the crash site in ukraine where the sun is about to come up. we're the first network on the scene. and i must warn you that what cnn is finding there is very disturbing. bodies still lying in the field. wreckage and personal effects scattered for miles around. >> and the world demands answers and justice for the 298 people who were killed. we will learn more about them in the next two hours. and what will the world do if
russia did indeed provide the weapons that brought down the plane? we'll ask our experts about that. our other big story is the showdown in gaza. israel warning that it may expand the ground offensive. the death toll is growing in the fight against hamas, and 40,000 palestinians have been forced to flee. president obama says he supports israel's right to defend itself, but he hopes they can minimize civilian casualties. so how much collateral damage is too much? and will israel pay any price for security? >> and allison, i want to welcome you to cnn. it is an honor to work with you tonight. it's good to have you here. >> thanks. i'm happy to be on such an important story. >> tells cnn that the u.s. believes the buk system was transferred into ukraine from russia in recent weeks. believes pro-russian separatists could not have operated it without training. but the administration does not know if russian personnel were on the scene at the time of the
shootdown. straight now to the crash scene where human remains and pieces of the plane are scattered across six square miles of farmland near the village of grabavo. phil black live at the scene with the very latest on that. phil, you're at that crash scene. tell us what you're is right now as the sun is coming up. >> john, we've been here through the night. and as the sun, it's been pretty terrible, i've got to say. as the sun comes up, the sights that we are seeing here, well, they're even worse. obviously, you can see this, the example just one part really of the wreckage that as you mentioned has been scattered across a very wide area. it's a big debris field. it's interesting that you've got a big piece here, and then all the other big pieces several miles away. but what we are seeing around here are those bodies. so many of them that are lying,
some in the fields, some by the road. there has been some effort by emergency workers here to identify those locations. and you can see that, because that's where they have stuck a stick into the ground and attached a little bit of white cloth to it. this are so many pieces of white cloth, it is really, really quite distressing. but as i say, something of a recovery operation under way here. but it is very limited, very small especially when you consider the scale of the disaster that we're talking about. >> and phil, you were the first network reporter on the scene of this crash, this horrific event. does it seem like an organized situation or is it chaotic? and who is in charge there? >> it's not chaotic. it just seems so terribly underdone. who is clearly in charge? well, that is obviously and still very much the pro-russian rebels who continue to occupy and control this ground. they are supervising the work of a very small number of emergency
workers that technically work for the ukrainian government. but these are just local people from that department. it is a very small operation. what they are not doing is they have not secured the site. the fact that we are standing so close to this is incredibly, incredibly telling. there has been no effort to begin the investigation here. crucially, no effort to begin removing these bodies with care and dignity and so forth, processing them and ensuring that they are returned to their loved ones in the best possible state that hasn't really begun. it's not happening. we understand that they are collecting bodies, but it's not the sort of operation that you would see. i certainly think it's fair to say we are not seeing world's best practice when it comes to the collection of these bodies here, don. >> and not to be too gruesome, but we have heard that the bodies are beginning to decompose. i would imagine that the smell is horrific. we see the debris that is behind you as the sun is coming up. and as i understand, you can't really show us that much for
fear of showing one of the people who died in this event. can you make out certain parts of the plane? >> beyond what you're seeing here, this is the clearest example. this is the most obvious example of the plane. we do have to be careful where we point the camera, it is true, because there are so many things here that we can't show you or the viewers. there are other pieces of the plane everywhere. there are personal effects everywhere. suitcases, other personal belongings. we see them scattered as well. but it is in some areas very much mixed up, very much intertwined. this is why we do have to be so sensitive in trying to convey what we are seeing and experiencing here. it is very difficult to do, really. very difficult to do it justice especially because i think what you have here behind me with these big pieces of wreckage, they very much show the scale of the physical disaster, the force that was responsible for
breaking up this aircraft in the sky. what is difficult to show and convey is the human cost. but that is what we do see, and it is visceral. it assaults the senses to some degree. you mentioned a smell that is beginning here. it is true. it is, as i say, distressing. it is here. it is very confronting. and it shows so far that over the last day and a half since this accident took place, what we're seeing on the ground hasn't changed very much at all. and there is no sign that this recovery effort, any sort of investigation or security effort is going to really gain a lot of momentum in the near future, don. >> i have to ask you this. i think it's important because it's going to determine the outcome of the investigation. what about the black boxes? have you heard anything about them? >> not specifically. there was a lot of talk and speculation about this through the day yesterday, reports that perhaps they had been moved across the border to russia. what we've heard from very senior ukrainian officials
talking to cnn through the night is that no, they believe they are still on ukrainian territory. they haven't been more specific than that. but it means that they are in theory still here, possibly still in this area. perhaps they have not been recovered. i don't know to what extent the rebels here have actually launched a real search effort to try and locate these things. there is so much debris, it is spread out over such a wide area, it would take a considerable amount of time and a large number of people to do it thoroughly. and we haven't seen either of those things just yet, don. >> phil black, thank you very much. we appreciate your reporting. and allison, it's just the scope of this over six square miles of farmland virtually in a war zone. and then you have bodies decomposing. it's horrific. >> and i'm struck by the emptiness of the crash site. i've never seen anything like it. phil is the only network correspondent there, and i can't believe there aren't more people around him. >> investigators are on the scene. you can't even get close. and he says i can't believe
we're this close. >> right. meanwhile, the black boxes that he was talking about may hold the key to the investigation. but who has them? joining us now is cnn's aviation correspondent richard quest. richard, what do we know about the black boxes? >> well, the rumor had always been that the black boxes had been taken by the separatists and were on their way to russia. excuse me. the economy minister of ukraine told me tonight that that wasn't true, that the black boxes -- i beg your pardon -- the black boxes are still in ukraine. they are not in the possession of the officials or indeed the international organizations. but they know that they are still in ukraine. they have not actually left. so the race is still on to find those black boxes. >> but does that mean they're at the crash site? >> well, i asked him that. he wouldn't be drawn on it. he may be referring to the emergency transmitter that of course they tell them where it is. but so far we do not believe that the black boxes have actually been removed. i just need to, if i may, talk
about what phil was just referring to and the scene. what you're looking at there is exactly the sort of environment you would get with an explosive decompression by a plane at altitude. now, the missile how it struck did not blow that plane up. it started a destructive process. that destructive process continued as the plane decompressed in an explosive fashion. it literally unravelled in the air. and when this happens, this is exactly the sort of debris field. it is horrific. we saw it with lockerbie. we saw it with twa. these are the sort of things that happen when a plane does fall out of the sky at altitude. >> i want to talk to you about there is some add wrote that i want you to listen to. and it is an audio recording. it was obtained for cnn from the ukrainian financials the rebels how they received this missile launcher from russia.
let's take a listen. >> pretty damning, as we heard the audio last night discussing. this is a passenger commercial jet rather than a military jet. >> first thing we've got to say this is from the ukrainians. is it accurate? is it true? is it valid? but let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it is true. what you're listening to there is the precursor to the attack against mh 17. and what we heard yesterday was afterwards. they couldn't believe what had happened. there was fair shock.
in any event, this is criminal evidence if it proves to be true. this is the sort of thing that eventually could end up getting somebody either into the hague, the international criminal court, or into a criminal court in say the netherlands, who lost most of the people on board. >> richard, great to have you. thank you so much for your expertise. i know you'll be sticking around. meanwhile, it's important to remember that this tragedy is for the families, of course, and the friends of each of the 298 people who were killed in this crash of flight 17. so when we come back, we'll talk to some of the people who knew these victims best. wait until you hear their stories. amamamamamamamamamamamamam rich. my social circle includes captains of industry, former secretaries of state, oil tycoons, and ambassadors of countries known for their fine cheeses. yes i am rich. that's why i drink the champagne of beers.
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lucy:00 that --:00 thatry. we understand that you just got out of a memorial service. what was that like? >> i did. it was really moving. there were lots of people there that were all affected by her life. and people of all kinds of generations. it just showed that she had been a member of the community for so long. and it had a huge impact on so many people's lives. >> lucy, how did you get the news of the crash and how did you hear that she was on it? >> people came together. and that's what phil was all about. she was about bringing people together and about nurturing people and looking after people. and that's what she -- that's what she gave. it's been amazing to see this outpouring of love for her. it's incredibly important that this is about the life she had and what she gave to people rather than the horrible
circumstances in which -- in which she left the world. >> and let's talk about that. you call her your mentor. so what did she teach you? >> she -- she would speak on monday mornings to the boarders. and she would reflect on what was happening in the world. and she gave us a real power to be able to talk about what was happening but as well how we could make changes in our own lives and what impact that would have. and so phil was a really quietly spoken gentle woman, but in taking the time with people, she would always stop and speak. and she connected and she cared and she had an ability to really understand every single person and the gift that they had, which is so rare. people rush around these days and they don't stop. and it's in that way that we can
see now that people are cherishing her and their whole lives have been changed. because as an educator, she had that power to quietly, not in a big way, not in a loud way, but to make an impact. she was an incredibly intelligent woman and would tell us how we actually in our lives, as tragic as it would, could treat each other nicely and could reflect and be quiet and find peace within ourselves and have that really -- important when it's so hard and these problems make no sense. because we can make more sense of what we can actually do when we feel so helpless. >> lucy, do you know what she was doing on the flight, why she was traveling? >> yeah. it's actually really lovely. she had gone over there because she is a member of the society
of sacred heart, and she had gone over there for a conference. and i understand it had been a really spiritual experience for her, for someone who was all about love and connecting with people. she had also gone there to see the founder of the society who she dedicated her whole life to, to see the site in which she was laid to rest and to see memorials. our head mistress had spoken to her the day before and was very much looking forward to coming home, but had had a really beautiful experience. we all hope that she had had a really lovely experience and that that had brought meaning and happiness to her at the time. >> of course. that is a nice way to remember her. lucy thackry, we're sorry you lost your mentor and your friend. and thanks for sharing her with us. >> thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk about
someone who made such a change. and the things that she taught us hopefully will help us to make sense of something that was so awful and to all be better people and to love each other and take care of each other. >> i hope so. that is certainly the silver lining of a tragedy like this. lucy, thanks so much. >> thank you very much. >> it was a lovely tribute to her mentor. >> also, 298 people. it's a staggering number. and when you look at each one of their lives individually, it gets all the more heartbreaking. >> and we're learning more about who the victims are and what their lives were like, and what kind of people they were. we will share them as this continues here on cnn. meantime, president obama is turning up the heat on vladimir putin. but the russian leader is blaming ukraine's government for the downing of flight 17. our experts are going to weigh in, next. narrator: these are the skater kid: whoa
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ukraine. he is making his way to the site of the crash of flight 17. he joins us by phone. hello, chris. you're in ukraine now. where are you and what can you see? >> we are moving through harkiev. harkiev is where the victims of flight 17 will be brought so they can do identification and deal with the dignities of the victims. this is pretty much the last outpost to where you get to where the crash scene is. it gets more and more perilous as you get close. you have to try and remember what is going on here. as terrible as this situation is, it's taking place within a full-blown conflict. so while all our sympathies go out to the victims involved, that's not necessarily the case for these disparate militia groups that are at war with ukraine right now and to an extent in a power grab with each other.
so there are reports from the government about the roads being mined, checkpoints, violence, not allowing the government personnel and the international response teams to do what they need to do in this situation to understand what happened to the plane and to give these victims and their families the dignity they deserve. and that is becoming a practical as well as a political consideration. so that's why we're racing there. we're hoping that shining the light on the situation makes these militias back off a little bit so people can do what needs to be done to give some closure and dignity to the victims involved. >> i understand getting there is very complicated. a very circuitous route in order to get there. how did you do it? >> well, we are doing it right now. you know, you just have to pick your way along and be very careful of who you come into contact with. one of the frustrations here is
there was a plan with the ukraine government to create a ceasefire, somewhat of a truce situation to allow the situation to be investigated and to deal with the victims and help the families. the problem is ceasefire with whom? there are so many different militia groups. they're being called separatists. a distinction here which is really a distinction with a difference, a separatist is somebody who wants to live in a certain area, but autonomously, under their own control. here they're destroying infrastructure, and there are all these different types of violence going on that are inconsistent with people who want to live and own a particular area. so that's why the ukraine government used the word terrorists or militias. it's more complicated than that. where we are in khrkiv right now, liberty square is right here, obviously commemorating the independence movement in ukraine. in the middle of the square, don, there is a statue of lenin, just to give you a sense of the metaphor of the conflict between russian and ukrainian sympathies. >> chris cuomo. chris, be safe. thank you very much. we appreciate your reporting
tonight. >> all right. thank you, don, thank you, alisyn. >> thanks, chris. great reporting. well, the united states says russia likely bears some responsibility for the crash of flight 17. so what should the u.s. do about that? and how will vladimir putin respond? we are joined by bill richardson. he is the former governor of new mexico who also served as the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. ambassador r. james woolsey who is chairman of the foundation of the defense for democracies. and steven cohen, professor emeritus of russian studies at princeton university and nyu. gentlemen, thanks so much for being here. let's start by playing you the comments from vladimir putin today. and then we'll talk on the other side. >> i want to emphasize that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on that land. in any case, if the military activities had not resumed in the southeast of ukraine. and of course the state over which territory it happened is responsible for this terrible tragedy.
>> governor richardson, what is your reaction to hearing vladimir putin? >> well, it's very disingenuous. i'm very disappointed the way president putin has handled this issue. not giving access to the crash site, not leaning on the separatist rebels. this is what i would do. you know, when you're in politics and you're in a hole, you don't want to dignity deeper. what i think president putin needs to do is, one, call for a ceasefire. get the ukrainians and the pro-russian separatists to a ceasefire so there can be a credible investigation. and then i think most importantly, he has to allow full access. there has to be an international coalition of security, safety,
all kinds of inspection. because the reality is if this doesn't happen, if there isn't a credible international investigation, after all, we've got 11 countries involved, a lot of noted aids researchers, it's going to be a he said/she said. and what needs to happen is somebody official needs to establish that, one, there probably was, and i believe our defense officials, our u.s. officials, training and support. >> yeah. >> of the russian separatists that they did this missile launch. >> right. >> the surface-to-air missile. and secondly, that there is going to be a credible effort to find out what happened. and then the consequences i think are going to be very severe. but if i were president putin, i would personally go to the site and say we're going to find out what happened. >> before we get to that, governor, before we get that far, i want to bring in stephen
cohen here. steven, you say this is not just a putin problem. and i want to quote that you wrote in the nation. you said not particularly this crash, but the situation there. you said the reaction of the obama administration as well as the new cold warhawks in congress and the establishment media has been twofold, silence interrupted only by occasional statements excusing and thus encourage mortgage atrocities by kiev. very few americans have protested this shameful complicity. tell me about that. >> i said it and you repeated it. i know and like bill, but he has the facts wrong. putin has been calling for a ceasefire since july 1 along with france and germany. ceasefire meaning he has demanded that kiev stop its assault on the east breakaway ukrainian cities. there was a brief ceasefire about seven days, and then it ended. it was ended by kiev. and putin and france and germany
said continue it. and kiev didn't with the backing of the united states. now that's the backdrop of the airplane. because since then, the air war over eastern ukraine has seen the shoot-down of military aircraft. and it's in that context that this tragedy occurs. >> hold on. i want to bring in mr. woolsey now to talk what president obama said today. he said that if putin made a decision that he was not going to allow heavy armaments and fighters to go across the border, that it would stop. do you agree with him? >> i don't know that it would stop. but a limitation like that would of course be useful. i think putin and the ukrainians who are aligned with the russians in this and who are most likely responsible for the shoot-down, a recent one as well as six or eight previous ones, i think that they are the problem.
i disagree with professor cohen and agree with bill richardson. i think putin doesn't care really about public opinion. what he is saying is like the 13th chime of a clock. it's not only false in and of itself, it calls into question everything from the same source. >> you want to respond? >> but you're not saying you don't think separatists, and when we say separatists, chris cuomo pointed out there have r so many different factions. you're not saying that it wasn't rebels. what are you saying? >> i'm saying i don't know what the likelihood. the likelihood is one of the rebel militias got ahold of the weapon and shot down that aircraft. here is what i want to emphasize. for four week, kiev, our government and kiev has been bombarding these cities. and these rebels have declared a no-fly zone over the cities. any aircraft that comes there, they're going to shoot down. >> i want to ask you two about the buk system, the breaking news we had at the top of the show, the administration saying there had to be some help from
russia that were recently there. you don't believe that, do you? >> was it necessary to bring a russian in to operate it is in no. you know why? these systems were made jointly in russia and ukraine. lots of ukrainians know how to operate them. secondly, look at the gray-haired guys who travel with the militia. ask chris cuomo to take a look when he is there. you'll see gray hair guys. on their arms they have tattoos that say they fought in the afghan war 20 years ago. they're 50 and 60 and they're teaching the young ones how to operate these systems. >> stand by. we'll be talking about what the u.s. should be doing and how putin will respond to this. stick around. coming up, is president obama handling all of this the right way? we'll get our guests' responses. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] if you can't stand the heat, get off the test track.
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♪ welcome back to our coverage of flight 17. today president obama flat-out said that vladimir putin has the power to control the rebels that are battling ukraine's government and stop the flow of arms into ukraine. well, some of his toughest words yet. governor bill richardson, ambassador r. james woolsey and professor stephen cohen are back with us. the president spoke more forcefully today about the incident, calling it a tragedy of unspeakable proportions. what do you make of his response? >> well, it's not a tragedy, it's a killing. it's not like a hurricane that kills people. it's a successionist movement by nondemocratic people who want to set up a new state.
and putin is helping them do that. and i think that it's really, you know, we had a civil war over succession, and the north was a democracy, and putin is in a similar situation in a way that is sponsoring the succession of the south in the american civil war. >> is this a war crime, do you think? >> well, i think what happened could be judged a war crime with individual incidents could be judge adwar crime with respect to killing all of the passengers on this plane as well as the other planes that putin's allies in ukraine have shot down. but those are individual incidents. as a general proposition we have here a successionist movement from a democracy, ukraine, that is backed by a dictator, putin and his dictatorial country, russia. i don't think see why we need to
rely on individual incidents in which there may be something terrible that happened such as happened here with this shoot-down. but i disagree very fundamentally with professor cohen that this doesn't really matter because there are two sides and they were going have a ceasefire. well, the union did not offer a ceasefire, happily to the south after they seceded. and the american civil war started. >> your response to that disagreement? >> i'm not sure i know what the former director of the cia is talking about. the director of the cia deals with facts. none of that is factual. what happened, happened. there is a civil war in ukraine. this has been an attempt to moderate it by calling for a ceasefire. putin supported a ceasefire. the white house was against it. a war zone exists in that area and a plane flew into it. >> but mr. cohen, if the weaponry is traced back to putin and if this investigators connect the dots that it came
from russia, doesn't that warrant some sort of international response and rebuke of putin? >> that's a technical question. most of that weaponry was built both in ukraine and russia. those -- fit was a buk, this system that can knock a plane out, if it was, there are plenty of those floating around ukraine and russia and crimea. i don't know that it points to putin. let's go back to the question of responsibility. my position is this. this is an enormous tragedy that was bound to happen given what has been happening in ukraine since february. wait a minute. the question is who is responsible for this situation? >> yes, that is the question. >> that's the question. everyone says it's putin and putin alone. does that mean the united states bears no responsibility for what is happening in ukraine since february? >> that's a good question for governor richardson, right? >> yes. >> did the -- you think it wouldn't have happened, this particular situation, had the obama administration been more forceful when russia took crimea? >> well, i think the international response of the united states was the right one.
i'm not -- i'm a bit concerned that some of our european friends did not put some stronger sanctions. but that's probably because of the natural gas component of the russia relationship with the european union. >> but governor, what should the response be now? >> but i think my point here is that i think the administration's response today has been the correct one. let's get all the facts. >> yes. but when the facts are borne out, if it did come from russia, then what should the international community and the u.s. do? >> well, then i think there are several steps. one, i think you're going to see russia damaged very badly in international opinion. i mean, first of all, you've got 11 countries involved. you've got the dutch, the australians, the germans, a broader coalition of countries that had been severely affected.
you've got 75 children, a huge tragedy. i think you're going to see, you know, president putin was on a roll. he was involved with the compromise on chemical weapons in syria, the sochi olympics went well for him, the crimean issue, the european response to crimea was muted. now i think he's in a real bind. and he's got to deal with international public opinion. i wouldn't be surprised if at the united nations obviously in the security council very little can happen because of a russian veto. but if there aren't some war crimes charges in the next few days, if this aren't some general assembly movements to condemn what has happened, especially if russia continues to be -- >> is that a bit early for war crimes until the investigation bears out? >> no, you're right, don. this is why priority number one has to be a credible
international investigation immediately before some of those credible materials of proof are eliminated or taken away. that has to happen right away. >> and i want to bring in mr. woolsey for one second. if it does bear out that this missile system came from russia, what do you think will happen to putin's international standing? >> i don't think he cares. i don't think he could careless. he's got many, many billions of dollars. he is a dictator, effectively, running russia. and he will brush people aside and ignore them. and he has successfully ignored our president by moving right ahead. for example, over syria, president obama said that it was impossible to go along with what was happening in syria, that we had -- >> this was a red line.
>> the red line drawn in the sand, et cetera, et cetera. and then basically back down and turn things over to putin. i think putin thinks the same thing is going to happen again. >> hold on, governor. >> stephen, you're smiling there is a smirk on your face. >> not a smirk, it's a smile. >> some people would say you're an apologist for putin. >> yeah, they do. >> are you? >> no. i'm the most patriotic american you have here tonight. i don't know what ambassador richardson thinks, but i will tell you we're in a new cold war with russia. we have lost our most important partner in international affairs whether we talk about syria or iraq or afghanistan in putin. we began this fight in ukraine, not putin. but he is mr. pushback, and he is pushing back. now something horrible has happened, and we're closer to war with russia. and you got a lot of opinion out here and almost no fact. you remember the late senator moynihan had a great saying. all of us get the right to our own opinion, not to our own facts. the fact of the matter is the united states is complicit main
the situation in the ukraine, and the president of the united states and the pundits won't even discuss american policy. >> we got to run. >> gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us. you'll be strict sticking around which we appreciate to talk more about the international situation. when we come back, how do you recover victims and evidence in the middle of a war zone? so we'll talk about all that with our experts. [ female announcer ] you never know what might be out there. the ambulance racing by you. the ambulance chaser... chasing the ambulance. a rollerblader with headphones who's oblivious to everything. the cab driver who's checking out the rollerblader. it's 360 degrees of chaos out there.
site is still not secured for a proper investigation. we are joined by david soucie, cnn safety analyst and author of "why planes crash." also mary schiavo, former inspector general of the d.o.t. she is now an attorney for victims of transportation accidents. and back with us is aviation correspondent richard quest. >> can you guys believe we're back here again talking about malaysian airlines? >> astonishing. and really heartbreaking. >> so listen. all the expectations of a crash investigation, mary, there are certain standards. are they being met in this particular case? >> oh, not at all. and not even close to them. i'm not even sure they know what the standards are, that there are even standards. and the amount of people that you need to do an accident investigation and crash site recovery like this are numbering in the thousands, not handfuls. >> yes, richard, we were struck by phil black's report half an hour ago. he was alone at the crash site. alone. they're not getting -- investigators are not getting -- >> the fact that you could even
get to the crash site. if god forbid this had happened in the most remote part of the united states, god forbid, within hours thousands of troops would have been there, of national guard would have been there to secure the area, before even the ntsb had got there. what we have here is a disaster which is threatening to turn into a catastrophe unless someone somewhere gets their hands around this situation. >> there is an official, of one of the officials that were on the ground today and spoke with our christiane amanpour and said there seems to be very little operational control over the site. it said we ask for the commander, the leader. no one showed up. there was one gentleman there in a uniform heavily armed and apparently somewhat intoxicated. >> oh, lovely. it's just so disrespectful on the site. you have bodies that need to be taken care of. they need to be respected. not to mention the fact that they are part of the evidence as well as to what happened, what
actually took the aircraft down, how it came down. >> should be in control of the investigation. is that going to happen because this is a war zone? >> the ukraine is in charge of that accident by international civil aviation rules, by annex 13. every single rule in the book says ukraine should be stepping in and saying we're in charge of this. >> but they're not in charge of that territory. >> but that territory is not part of the international civil aviation organization. >> absolutely. and as you know, mary, the ntsb is trying to send investigators there. the fbi is trying to send investigators there. but we don't know that they'll be able to make it there. >> and we're talking about this just before coming on. but at some point, they have to. at some point, i say by the third day, you cannot leave all these victims in the field. and when you do an accident investigation, there are very clear lines of delynn united nation. you have the criminal investigators. this is a huge crime scene. you got to get the fbi, special ops, et cetera, to grab the evidence, ntsb. but you also have companies and there are international companies and are very well-known that go in and do the
recovery. they photograph every single piece at the site. they can compile big books for the families to do it. the experts have said if they preserve the evidence, et cetera. those kinds of groups need to get in there. >> it's important that the victims are respected and their remains are removed as respectfully as possible. but it's also important those black boxes. and there were two ukrainian officials today that spoke to us about the black boxes. you spoke to one of them. the economics minister? >> the economics minister reporting what the foreign minister had told him. basically he said the black boxes are still on ukrainian soil, but he doesn't know whether the international organizations have got them, which they haven't, they have confirmed. so what we know is they're still there. the separatists have not got those boxes and sent them on to russia. if that were to happen, or if the separatists were to get those black boxes, then i think you're looking at a -- we'll never know what was on them. but i think you might agree. it's important, the black boxes.
but there is so much evidence there, independent evidence of what took place. >> does it matter that the scene may be contaminated? and we've heard reports that some of the rebels have been walking through it? >> absolutely. >> and taking things. >> absolutely it is. for a number of reasons. but going back to the black boxes, the best thing you could hope to get out of the black boxes would be that there was some type of attempt to tell that aircraft to change its direction, that it was in a bad airspace, that it had to be moved and that they didn't react to that. >> how true is it let's just say the black boxes get into the hands of the wrong people, right, that you can in fact change information on black boxes. i heard someone say that is that true? can that happen? and then we may never know? >> what you do is you just put out a false transcript. usually what you put out as a transcript. once you have downloaded the data, you have taken off of the recording. and that is the data for all intents and purposes off the box. so yes, they could put fake data on there, sure. >> but remember, we are talking about an instrument that is not
easy for a novice to deal with. >> that's right. >> we were talking could malaysia even decode. and they said they can't decode a black box. so ukraine. those black boxes when they get them will be going to a western european or u.s. or asia. >> let's hope so. thanks so much. stick around, please. >> and up next, the video of the final moments inside the cabin of flight 17 when we come right back. sea captain: there's a narratorstorm cominhe storm narrator: that whipped through the turbine which poured... surplus energy into the plant which generously lowered its price and tipped off the house which used all that energy to stay warm through the storm. chipmunk: there's a bad storm comin! narrator: the internet of everything is changing how energy works. is your network ready?"
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recorded by the passenger posted to instagram before the plane took off. what do you guys make of it? >> it looks like a regular flight that occurs all over the world in a regular day. >> technology is such that -- >> unsuspecting. >> that's what is so chilling about it. it's the mundane, you know, preflight instructions. we've all been through this. and then to know what will happen a short time afterwards. richard, you say you've never seen anything quite like this? >> this situation? no. where there is no easy or obvious way that you're going to be able to get sufficient number of people and helpers in to deal with the human remains. i cannot at this time on a friday night see a way out other than u.n., a brokered peace deal, something like that. because you need -- how many people do you need? >> nearly a thousand. for pan am 103 it was one thousand on the ground. >> three people for each body to process. >> can we talk about this flight
path? should this airspace, very quickly, should it have been changed? should they not have been in this flight path? >> it should have been changed, but it's the authorities, the government authorities that have to change it. i think the airline was just following what they always do. >> and they thought that being at 33,000 feet, they were going to be safe. >> right. but the countries knew that that had changed. the governments knew with the recent shootdowns. >> david, mary, richard, thank you very much. is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone. it is 11:00 p.m. on the east coast, and this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. you're going the look now at the site of the crash of flight 17 in ukraine. and we are the first network on the scene. and i really have to warn you that what cnn is finding there is very disturbing. bodies still lying in the field, wreckage and personal effects scattered for miles around. >> good evening, everyone. i'm alisyn camerota. meanwhile, the world demands answers and justice for the 298 people who died. if russia supplied the